Genetic polymorphisms that affect selenium status and response to selenium supplementation in United Kingdom pregnant women Academic Article uri icon


  • Low selenium status in pregnancy has been associated with a number of adverse conditions. In nonpregnant populations, the selenium status or response to supplementation has been associated with polymorphisms in dimethylglycine dehydrogenase (DMGDH), selenoprotein P (SEPP1) and the glutathione peroxidases [cytosolic glutathione peroxidase (GPx1) and phospholipid glutathione peroxidase (GPx4)].We hypothesized that, in pregnant women, these candidate polymorphisms would be associated with selenium status in early pregnancy, its longitudinal change, and the interindividual response to selenium supplementation at 60 μg/d.With the use of stored samples and data from the United Kingdom Selenium in Pregnancy Intervention (SPRINT) study in 227 pregnant women, we carried out genetic-association studies, testing for associations between selenium status, its longitudinal change, and response to supplementation and common genetic variation in DMGDH (rs921943), SEPP1 (rs3877899 and rs7579), GPx1 (rs1050450) and GPx4 (rs713041). Selenium status was represented by the concentration of whole-blood selenium at 12 and 35 wk of gestation, the concentration of toenail selenium at 16 wk of gestation, and plasma glutathione peroxidase (GPx3) activity at 12 and 35 wk of gestation.Our results showed that DMGDH rs921943 was significantly associated with the whole-blood selenium concentration at 12 wk of gestation (P = 0.032), which explained ≤2.0% of the variance. This association was replicated with the use of toenail selenium (P = 0.043). In unsupplemented women, SEPP1 rs3877899 was significantly associated with the percentage change in whole-blood selenium from 12 to 35 wk of gestation (P = 0.005), which explained 8% of the variance. In supplemented women, SEPP1 rs3877899 was significantly associated with the percentage change in GPx3 activity from 12 to 35 wk of gestation (P = 0.01), which explained 5.3% of the variance. Selenium status was not associated with GPx1, GPx4, or SEPP1 rs7579.In agreement with previous studies, we show that the genetic variant rs921943 in DMGDH is significantly associated with selenium status in United Kingdom pregnant women. Notably, our study shows that women who carry the SEPP1 rs3877899 A allele are better able to maintain selenium status during pregnancy, and their GPx3 activity increases more with supplementation, which suggests better protection from low selenium status. The SPRINT study was registered at as ISRCTN37927591.


  • Mao, Jinyuan
  • Vanderlelie, Jessica
  • Perkins, Anthony V
  • Redman, Christopher WG
  • Ahmadi, Kourosh R
  • Rayman, Margaret P

publication date

  • 2016